How to Work at Home When You Have Young Kids

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Spending time together at home can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have with your kids. But when you’re trying to get work done, it can also be overwhelming. There are several things you can do to make it easier for everyone.

Set Expectations

Believe it or not, something as simple as a schedule will get everyone on track and keep them that way. Setting boundaries that you can all agree on will help everyone understand when and what they’re supposed to do.

Being at home all day together doesn’t mean your kids can bother you whenever they want. Making a schedule together and displaying it where everyone can see it may help your kids understand that you have to get some work done before you all can spend some time together.

The schedule doesn’t have to be concrete, and you can deviate from it on days when you feel like you need to. But it will also help everyone get back on track after a rogue day or two.

Young happy mother sitting at the table with her son on her knees and they looking at the laptop

Setting physical boundaries may help you, too. If you turn the spare bedroom, dining room, or basement into a playroom, your kids will have their own space where they can go to entertain themselves and give you some peace and quiet.

You’ll lose that space in your house for its intended purpose, but I can almost guarantee that your day will be much more productive when your children feel like they have a purpose. It also encourages independent play, which is a very healthy thing for children to learn how to do.

Give Goals

If you incentivize your child, it will help you both accomplish a lot more. Kids thrive on knowing what’s expected of them, so if you give them a goal for the day and then reward them for completing it, it will give them purpose.

Perhaps the goal is to finish their schoolwork using an at-home program like ABC Mouse or Hooked on Phonics. For younger children, you may have to check in every hour or so just to make sure they’re busy and staying out of trouble.

Older kids will be able to make it longer entertaining themselves before they need some extra attention. Set them up with some chores like putting clean clothes away, cleaning their rooms, doing dishes, or any other age appropriate task.

Whenever you feel like it’s time to take a break, spend 5-10 minutes with them doing a puzzle or playing a game.

While you may feel like you really need to power through your day and get things done, your children won’t do well with minimal supervision or attention. You’ll still be able to get a full work day in, but it won’t be during the regular business hours you’re used to.

Get Into a Routine

For many people, getting into a routine can help them get motivated for the day. Working at home can be monotonous, but separating your work and your home life can be as simple as getting dressed and brushing your teeth.

If you treat your day just like you would if everyone were going to work or school, you may have an easier time concentrating and being productive. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then start your day.

Plus, with chores and other goals that you set for your kids, you’ll have a cleaner, more organized house, too. 

Take Breaks and Have Fun

Whether it’s an afternoon walk together or a trip to the park (with Wi-Fi), you can build fun and breaks into your day to give everyone something to look forward to. Your kids will love the time they spend with you and your mind will be thankful for the break.

Staying active and keeping your body moving can help you remain healthy. Even if it’s a quick break every hour to stretch or take a drink of water, you can keep your mind moving by engaging your body.

And remember to go easy on yourself. Working at home with young kids isn’t easy, but you’ll find your groove and implement the things that work for you. It takes some time to settle in, but eventually, it will all fall into place.